I'm calling my blog These Are Days in testament to something I have noticed about being a housemommy.
Sidebar: I use housemommy instead of stay-at-home-mom because it's not so difficult to type and it's much more melodious.
As a housemommy with small children, life is a series of days. Some days are better than others. Some are really great, and some are really not. But there is a sameness and monotony to it. For the most part, every day you do the same things - feed the kids, wash the dishes, do the laundry, straighten the house, and on and on... Your plans are made, and changed, day-to-day, depending on the health and attitude of your children. You get through a day, then you get through another one.
In the working world there are usually projects and processes that happen over a course of weeks or months and then are finished. You work on something until it is finished and then put it away. Projects are completed, presentations made, goals met. Of course there are daily tasks and responsibilities, but there is a sense of accomplishment from completing something that is the culmination of many days' or weeks' worth of effort.
As a housemommy, nothing is ever really finished - all your tasks are ongoing. They were done yesterday and will have to be done tomorrow. However hard you roll that rock up that hill, it will be at the bottom again in the morning. There's a lot of frustration in that. You can't ever point to anything and say, "I did that. Now it's finished." The things that you do are not worthless or unnecessary, but neither are they big achievements. They're never really finished at all. I think that absence of accomplishment is what leads a lot of housemommies to that sense of a lost identity.
I am not unhappy or bitter about not working - I think it's what's best for our family, and I'm lucky that we can afford it (thanks honey!). But I do find that I am living life day-to-day, with little thought beyond that days' tasks and schedule. I no longer wonder about or plan for the future, with an eye on where my learning and accomplishments can take me and a plan for progress and/or advancement. There's a relief in that, but there's also a loss of hope and possibility.
On the other hand, there is opportunity for much joy. I get to watch my kids play and learn and grow every day. I have been there for everything: every first, every achievement, every skinned knee, every bad dream. Even on the long hard days, my husband and children know that they are my first priority, the top of my agenda. I don't struggle with guilt or feel stretched beyond breaking. I'm able to be spontaneous - to take ten extra minutes to watch the rain with my son, because there's nowhere else I have to be.
My kids are already so big. These endless, monotonous days have flown by with breathtaking speed. Soon my kids won't need me or even want me around and I know it will break my heart.
So - These Are Days. Long and tiring and beautiful and precious and maddening and exhilarating and much the same and always different. I'm trying to learn to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of these days, because I will never get them back and I will miss them when they're gone.